Those changes may be critical due to another surprising discovery by the Bain team. In Europe,” says Pointeau, “because of the history around how higher education has been designed, there was more focus on undergraduate study. The MBA came a little bit as a more recent concept. When you talk to recruiters at large European multinationals they are a little bit wrestling with what is the distinctive value that an MBA brings relative to a brilliant undergrad with a few years of work experience. So there is a narrower market for leading MBA programs and some recruiters are wrestling to define the distinctive value proposition.”
THE NEW CURRICULUM SURPRISING INCLUDES A NEW REQUIRED COURSE IN ETHICS
The Bain assignment coincides with several other changes at HEC. The School of Management moves into a new modern building in September of this year when it will also launch its revised curriculum and one of two MBA class intakes—the other is in January—occur. The new curriculum focuses on business fundamentals before allowing students to essentially customize the MBA program to their career paths.
The new curriculum includes a new required ethics course that came out of Bain’s outreach to corporations that hire MBAs. “That was a surprise to me,” says Garrette. “I knew there are good reasons to do it, but I was surprised that companies insisted on it and the professors agreed. The idea is to have professors from different departments participate in it so students see a finance professor in a session on ethics to bridge the gap between finance and ethics.”
There also will be five specializations, with set menus of elective courses taught in either English or French: entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and strategy and leadership in global organizations. The latter specialization is completely new to help students target general management positions in multinationals. And there are also five specialized certificates, including one in luxury marketing, offered through the school and its partnerships with other programs at HEC Paris.